Tag Archive | traditions


When I arrived home, I sat down at the kitchen table with my bag of goodies. Mom was standing at the stove stirring a pot of chili. Looking over her shoulder, she said, “Don’t spoil your supper with candy. You can eat whatever you want later.”

I protested, “I just want to look at what I got at school.” Opening a small brown paper bag, I dumped it next to my cereal bowl, filled during the night with chocolate covered peanuts, vanilla creams, hard candies and an orange. Mom left the stove to look over my shoulder as I examined my new loot. There was a red and white candy cane, a bunch of peanuts in the shell, several chewy red, white and green mints in wrappers and a popcorn ball. On the way home from school, I’d gobbled down the malted milk balls.

Mom asked, “Did you get to see Saint Nicholas today?”

Shaking my head and grinning with the superiority of a ten-year-old, I said, “Nah. It was just like other years. When we came back inside from our last recess of the day, everyone had a bag like this on their desk.” As Mom sliced bread, I said, “My classmates all celebrate Christmas pretty much the same, but not Saint Nicholas. Only a few put letters to Santa in a cereal bowl like we do. Some of them set out shoes, others hang socks…” Continue reading

Sauerkraut Dreams

Every time I woke during the night I wondered, “When I get up and look, will there be a long trickle of juice running away from the garbage can in the basement?” Behind my closed eyes I remembered mounds of crisp, white shreds of cabbage. The day before I’d had an intimate encounter with two hundred twenty five pounds of the cruciferous vegetable.

My daughter and I make a large batch of sauerkraut every other year. We slip extremely large, food-grade bags into a large metal garbage can especially purchased for this purpose. The fluid that forms when the cabbage is salted and pressed down allows fermentation to take place. Each year I fret and worry that a plastic bag leak could ruin an entire batch. Continue reading